Vanhemert Found Guilty Of 2nd Degree Murder

Luke Vanhemert is lead from the Mahaska County Courthouse to the Mahaska County Jail on Monday afternoon after being found guilty of 2nd Degree Murder.

Luke Vanhemert is lead from the Mahaska County Courthouse to the Mahaska County Jail on Monday afternoon after being found guilty of 2nd Degree Murder. (Oskaloosa News/Pool)

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Family and friends of Marquis Todd and Luke Vanhemert waited for word from the jury after closing arguments finished up Monday morning. The jury was given their instructions just before noon and moved to the deliberation room.

After a week-long trial that was sometimes filled with emotional testimony, a jury of nine women and three men had reached a verdict Monday afternoon. The jurors returned to the courtroom after deliberating for less than three hours. As the jury made their way to the jury box one last time, many didn’t make eye contact with the defendant, or his lawyers. Court Attendant Kim Andeway announced the jury’s verdict.

“In the State of Iowa vs. Luke Ryan Vanhemert. We, the jury, find the defendant, Luke Ryan Vanhemert, guilty of the crime of Murder in the Second Degree,” Andeway announced to a packed Mahaska County courtroom.

Gasps and muffled sobs could be heard coming from both sides of the courtroom after the reading of the verdict. Vanhemert could be seen crying and shaking his head as the verdict was read aloud. Lead defense attorney, Allen Cook, quietly dropped his head.

At Cook’s request, the jury was polled to confirm the verdict, an extremely common request in jury trials. Judge Lucy Gamon did not set a sentencing date but indicated it would occur within 12 weeks.

After the jury had been dismissed, Gamon indicated that Vanhemert would be returned to the Mahaska County Jail to await sentencing. She stated the crime Vanhemert had been convicted of was one that would require any bond options to be revoked.

“That is not a bailable offense. The defendant will be taken back to the jail to await sentencing,” Gamon stated.

After the verdict, County Attorney Andrew Ritland said the trial would not have been possible without the assistance of law enforcement and other entities throughout the case. Ritland also thanked the jury for their service.

“Justice for Marquis could never have been achieved without the dedicated law enforcement in the community,” Ritland said.

Ritland stated that he believed the verdict was just and correct.

“The defendant, at every turn, was escalating the situation,” Ritland added. “Marquis did not have to die. There were options, but the defendant chose to use deadly force and will have to live with the consequences of his actions,” he added.

Vanhemert will be required to serve a mandatory sentence of 50 years. He will not be eligible for parole until at least 35 years of that sentence have been served, without any time reduced for credit.

Vanhemert will be sentenced on June 27th at 1 pm.

Posted by on Apr 16 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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